2017 Free Admission Days in National Parks 

April 15-16 and 22-23: Weekends of National Park Week
August 25: National Park Service Birthday
September 30: National Public Lands Day
November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend

Source: 2017 Free Admission Days in National Parks | National Park Foundation

​What it’s like camping and backcountry skiing in below freezing temperatures in Utah | Men’s Health

 

by Aaron H. Bible, Men’s Health

By now you’ve probably heard enough about glamping: that eye roll-inducing portmanteau of “glamorous” and “camping.” There are now legions of luxury camping experiences with platform tents, white linens under Pendleton blankets, maybe outdoor solar showers, plenty of staff on hand, and high-end cuisine.

In between full-on glamping and proper camping, with just a tent and some essentials to ensure your survival, is a nice middle ground and it’s how I recently stayed in the freezing tundra that is Utah’s backcountry.

Despite temps ranging from -5 degrees F to a balmy 14 degrees F, this particular weekend was hosted by Allied Feather & Down, one of the largest down suppliers in the world for the last 30 years. Thus, regardless of the fact that it was dumping snow where we were camping on the shores of a frozen lake in East Canyon State Park west of Salt Lake City, Utah, down pillows and comforters, and eco-friendly, water-resistant down Blue Kazoo sleeping bags from The North Face helped stave off the chill.

As we drank under the stars, socializing and sorting all the gear we would put to use the next day moving through thigh-deep Utah powder, professional ski mountaineer Caroline Gleich showed up to deliver some backcountry ski poles from Leki, a necessity for the avalanche-prone Wasatch terrain.

Tomorrow’s trek seemed light years away, especially when presented with a decadent dinner. Allied’s director of marketing Matthew Betcher previously worked as a sous chef in a Michelin-starred eatery and cooked up a five-course survivalist-themed dinner served under the guise of military rations and winter foraging. Starter courses like Miso Corn Soup with fresh Winter Truffles and Grilled Mackerel with Chili Tomato Sauce slid down easy, as did the main course: Tea Brined Honey Lacquered Duck Breast on Malted Pureed Potato. Not a bad meal for a bunch of frozen journalists. For a gourmet camping meal any guy could pull off, check out this recipe.

The next morning, when we reached the parking lot of Brighton Ski Area in Little Cottonwood Canyon, we geared up with some of the lightest alpine touring gear on the market: Blizzard Zero G skis mounted with the new Marker Kingpin binding, complete with new Tecnica boots. After seeing a video of one of our ski partners pulling off a double back flip in the terrain we were about to ski the day before, plenty of those new boots began shaking.

Five guides from Utah Mountain Adventure assuaged our fears, and a quick lift ride up the face of Brighton put us within striking distance of the famed Wasatch backcountry — or what could be called a prime sidecountry expedition, given our breezy lift access and the fact that we would ski back in bounds and down to the base of neighboring Solitude Mountain Resort.

The snow was crashing down like wetted-out cotton balls. Beacons on, we skied the first pitch of untracked pow one at a time, landing us on a frozen, snow covered lake where we snacked up and transitioned, pulling skins from packs and switching boots and bindings into hike mode.

The uphill slog began with our objective barely visible in the background through the falling snow. Our mission: Twin Lakes Pass and Wolverine Cirque, a popular – yet remote – bowl of steep couloirs, where even the relatively few ski tracks already laid were quickly filling back in from the pounding snow. That’s what ski bums call free refills. (It’s not too late to book this year’s ski trip. Here are 5 great spots for spring skiing.)

Switching back and forth up the ridge through Heaven’s Gate, traversing one at a time to mitigate avalanche risk, we reached the top and transitioned back into ski mode. The day would allow us two long, glorious, untracked and thigh-deep laps up and down, logging about 5,000 vertical feet in the process.

That night, as we again nestled down in goose down and settled in our canvas-wrapped, not-quite-luxury accommodations, I paused to consider all the incredible experiences I’d been afforded. The warmth of the memories forged during the trip, augmented by the tired muscles, helped me speedily drift into a blissful slumber.

Source: What it’s like camping and backcountry skiing in below freezing temperatures in Utah | Men’s Health

Instagram Takeover: Crested Butte Mountain Resort – Elevation Outdoors Magazine

by Tyra Sutak, Elevation Outdoors

Crested Butte, Colo. is receiving record-breaking snowfall this winter, luring skiers and shredders from all over the Centennial State and beyond to the town’s historic Crested Butte Mountain Resort. And just like this year’s snowfall, CB’s resort is epic — offering the perfect blend of extreme terrain and easy-going hills for beginners. But don’t take our word for it. Crested Butte Mountain Resort is taking over our Instagram account this week with photos that will make you want to ditch the office and head west immediately. Stay tuned to @elevationout on Instagram this week and read our Q&A with CBMR to find out just what makes this small mountain resort, and mountain town, the perfect place to explore this winter.

What makes Crested Butte stand out from other resorts?

Crested Butte is Colorado’s Last Great Ski Town. In the winter, Crested Butte is located at the end of Highway 135 and is surrounded by National Forest, making it the epitome of adventure! Crested Butte’s main drag, Elk Avenue, is a registered National Historic District featuring incredibly colorful facades and classic architecture from Crested Butte’s mining days.

Crested Butte Mountain Resort embodies the adventurous and classic personas of this small Rocky Mountain town. Incredible terrain for the whole family, great snow, short lift lines and very reasonable lodging and lift ticket rates set CBMR apart from many other resorts.

Tell us a little bit about Crested Butte’s awesome terrain.

Although Crested Butte is often revered as an “extreme mountain”, the resort truly offers runs catered to the whole family. The terrain at CBMR is “naturally divided” so that most of the beginner runs are not overlapping more challenging runs. This natural division encourages people to spread out across the resort, shortening lift lines and providing you with the feeling that you have the mountain to yourself.

Beginner skiers and riders enjoy the wide, consistent runs off of the Red Lady Express Lift.  Featuring mellow grades, open trails and the ability to explore, these runs are an excellent stepping stone for those who are new to the sport.

The Paradise Express Lift offers countless options of long, intermediate cruisers and mellow bump runs. Located within the middle of the resort, guests can easily access many different runs from the Paradise Lift. For intermediates looking to take the next step, head over to the East River Express Lift and the impeccably spaced trees of Gully Glades. East River is a popular spot due to its generally warmer temperatures and excellent snow conditions.

For a consistent challenge, the Silver Queen Express Lift and the Extreme Limits terrain is the perfect area to explore. Long, steep runs will exhaust your legs as you lap the frontside terrain underneath the Silver Queen Lift. The High Lift and North Face Lifts will elevate you to the top of the most challenging runs on the mountain.

As the snow continues to fall on Crested Butte’s famed slopes, Ski Patrol is hard at work controlling and opening some of North America’s most revered extreme terrain. The Extreme Limits at CBMR consist of 542 acres of bowls, chutes and glades. Whether you are a professional skier looking to push the envelope, or a guest looking for an additional challenge, conditions at Crested Butte are providing everyone with some of the best turns they’ve ever had.

Any advice for a skier or snowboarder who hasn’t ridden at Crested Butte before?

Don’t be intimidated. Crested Butte Mountain Resort features lots of terrain for all ability levels. Of the 121 total trails at CBMR, 26 percent is rated as beginner and 57 percent is rated as intermediate.

Another piece of advice is to take a lesson. The Crested Butte Ski and Snowboard Instructors are some of the best around, and are passionate about taking your skiing and riding to the next level – whether you’ve never skied before or have been multiple times before. Learn more about the different lessons and programs at skicb.com/lessons.

Where’s the best place to grab a beer on the mountain?

There is no better place than the Umbrella Bar at Ten Peaks to grab a drink during the day! For après ski, Butte 66 is the most convenient and best spot to grab some food, a drink and watch the game.

Give us a few tips on how to blend in like a local

Ride the bus. Crested Butte offers an unbelievable bus system that runs every 15 minutes between the mountain and downtown Crested Butte.  This free bus system virtually eliminates the need to drive when in Crested Butte.

Flannel is fur: When heading out on the town, locals are much more likely to throw on their favorite flannel shirt and beanie, rather than their finest fur and leather shoes.

Be happy. One thing that is unique to Crested Butte and the local community is the overwhelming friendliness of the people who call this valley home. Many guests have turned their vacation into a permanent residence after embracing the friendly, happy and passionate local community.

What kind other activities does Crested Butte Mountain Resort have to offer?

Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers many different activities! In addition to skiing and riding, CBMR also offers: snow biking, fat biking, zipline tours, the Adventure Park, uphill skiing, snowshoe tours, snowmobile tours, cross country skiing and more. For more information, call our Adventure Services team at (844) 993-9545 or visit skicb.com/winter-activities.

What is Crested Butte’s most popular festival or event?

The first thing to note is that there is always something going on in Crested Butte! In the winter, Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s annual spring concert – SkiTown Breakdown – is a very popular event. We are excited to announce that Leftover Salmon will be headlining SkiTown Breakdown on March 18, 2017.

Are there any good resort deals to lock down now for the season we should know of?

Guests should take advantage of the multiple Ski Free & Stay Free packages that offer free lodging and free days of lift tickets if you stay three or four nights, depending on the time of the season. For families, children 12 and under receive free lift tickets from April 1 to 9, 2017. In addition, children ages 6 and under ski free all season long. No strings attached, no parent ticket required, no lodging stay required, no advance reservations, no purchase of a bottle of wine (though that is not a bad idea), just a good old free ticket for the littlest rippers.

Source: Instagram Takeover: Crested Butte Mountain Resort – Elevation Outdoors Magazine

Winter 14ers for Beginner Mountaineers: Top 10 – Because it’s there

If you’re looking to bag some winter 14ers but don’t want to risk your life to do so, hopefully this list list can help steer you to some solid safer climbs. Whether you’re looking for a more intense climb than the summer hikes or love the solitude of the off-season, winter 14ers can be an amazing experience that you can’t get during the summer.

Source: Winter 14ers for Beginner Mountaineers: Top 10 – Because it’s there

A Weekend Of Camping Can Cure You Sleep Woes 

Living most of life indoors can get your body clock out of phase. A fairly painless way to synch it is to spend a weekend camping, researchers say. Even the dim light of winter will do.

by ANGUS CHEN, NPR

It’s tempting to keep the computer running late and promise yourself an extra 30 minutes of bed rest in the morning. It’s tempting to do it again the next night, too. But sleep inevitably loses out to getting up early for school or work.

There’s a simple way to combat this: End all artificial lights at night for at least a weekend and drench your eyes in natural morning light, says Kenneth Wright, a professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado, Boulder and senior author on a study on resetting sleep cycles. The most straightforward way of doing this is to forbid any electronics on a camping trip.

In the study, published Thursday in Current Biology, Wright reports on the latest of a series of experiments where he sent people out camping in Colorado parks to reset their biological clocks. Small groups of people set out for a week during the summer, an experiment published in Current Biology in 2013.

This most recent study shows the results of camping a week in winter and once over a winter weekend. Others stayed at home to live their life. Along with sleep, Wright kept track of people’s circadian rhythms by measuring their levels of the hormone melatonin, which regulates wakefulness and sleep.

Before each camping trip, Wright says that he noticed something odd about the study participants’ melatonin levels.

In general, melatonin makes us feel tired. Levels of the hormone rise a couple of hours before we sleep, and they fall right when we wake up. “In the modern environment, those melatonin levels fall back down a couple of hours after we wake up,” Wright says. “Our brains say we should be sleeping several hours after we wake up.” The participants’ sleep and wake times were slightly out of step with their internal clocks, like constantly being a little jet lagged.

But after people got back from a week-long camping trip, the jet lag was gone.

“[Melatonin] would go down at sunrise and right when people woke up,” Wright says. And people’s entire sleep schedules had shifted earlier so that they were going to bed and rising two or more hours earlier than they had been before camping. Those who had gone camping for just a weekend had their sleep schedules shifted by a little less than an hour and a half.

Source: A Weekend Of Camping Can Cure You Sleep Woes : Shots – Health News : NPR

America’s Best Backcountry Ski Huts

Whether you’re seeking overnight shelter en route to a high alpine objective or a fireside night with friends far from Wi-Fi, hut trips offer reward beyond measure. Pack the essentials—your gear, a map, good food, a med kit, down booties, and your avalanche survival skills—and get on your way to the best trip of your winter.

Source: America’s Best Backcountry Ski Huts

Parking Lot Rage, Human Waste and Other Issues at Rocky Mountain National Park | Westword

Source: Parking Lot Rage, Human Waste and Other Issues at Rocky Mountain National Park | Westword

Weekend Getaway: Canoeing the Green River

You need something to revive your soul, but this time a yoga class just isn’t going to cut it. Smashing things in your house might be a good way to vent your frustration, but going on an outdoor adventure for a few days to blow off some steam is probably a better move.

Solution: Disappear for a while and go on a canoe trip down the Green River in Utah.

In short, I didn’t need to smash anything once I got back.

Source: Weekend Getaway: Canoe Trip Down Green River – Elevation Outdoors Magazine